View Full Version : Sharpie Rig
02-12-2001, 03:44 PM
I'm looking for advice on a rig for the sharpie I'm building. The design is by Parker, his Small Ohio Sharpie. The plans specify a Cat-Ketch, with two sprit-boom sails....or a Sloop. I'm nearing completion of the hull, and was intending the two sprit-boom sails.....but I recently read in Bolger's book on small boat rigs that the cat-ketch is the least powerful rig for it's sail area. Parker has a photo of his own Small Ohio Sharpie, and has chosen a rig other than what his plans show, for his personal boat. Anyone out there with a similar small craft, with suggestions?
Power is a wonderful thing. Power to tip your boat over for example or power overcome with your rudder. The split rig will give you a smoother, easier, and safer ride with plenty of drive; sharpies make their living on low wetted surface and little drag. Balance is worth as much as power.
02-13-2001, 07:31 AM
I have to agree with Thad on this one.
The extra knot or so that you might gain from a more powerful rig is only to be gotten at the expense of comfort. Which is to say that 90% of the time the more powerful rig will never be fully realized as you will ease up in order to keep from hiking out all the time.
In regards to the cat-ketch rig. If it is well matched to the craft it should perform just fine. (Check out B&B's Core Sound boats for some prime examples of cat-ketches that can really move.)
There is also the advantage of smaller spars. Which, if you're going to keep it on a trailer is a mighty advantage indeed.
I would talk to the designer and get his input. He'd probably know better than any of us.
02-13-2001, 09:25 AM
Thanks to both of you.
I've found the designer hard to reach in the past, ('gone sailing!) but only hesitated to contact him because he opted for something different than his plans. My instincts were to start with the two sprit-booms......due to simplicity and cost. I'll probably stick with that.
02-13-2001, 10:50 AM
I don't know about Arkadelphia but here in Ohio we're aflicted with light to zero summer winds. Perhaps that's why Ohio Sharpie work boats had those monster rigs. One may reef down in squalls and under cold fronts, but extra area, when sweating buckets on a glassy lake, is hard to come by unless it's already there. Your results may vary of course.
02-13-2001, 12:29 PM
I built a 16 foot version of the New Haven sharpie some years ago. The rig is a sprit-boom cat-ketch and wonderful. The design also allows you to remove the mizzen and move the main back to another mast step further aft. This was the working rig, I understand, easier to handle on gusty Long Island Sound afternoons while tonging for oysters. Bringing it back a bit helped maintain the rig's balance. Mystic Seaport has plans for this boat.
02-13-2001, 02:55 PM
I'm glad to hear all of this. I installed a third maststep, so the main could be stepped amidship......alone........what amounted, I guess, to a reefing system on the original boats.
I appreciate the comments.
Drummerboy, I received my plans about 2 wks ago and am getting a materials list together. Did you plank fore and aft or side to side. I am considering springing for a 5'x10' sheet of ply to do the center section and apply the skin fore and aft. I will use his cat ketch rig although I am considering using gaff booms like Gato Negro instead of sprit booms. I think conventional slab reefing might be easier to use than the vertical slab reefing system in the plans. If I go vertical I will consider permanent brails like Chapelle illustrates in early New Haven boats.
If you are looking for Max. sail I would use the Ohio rig as shown in the plans. Should be more than enough to put a grin on your face! I like the idea of using one mast in windy conditions and both when you need them. Here in the Fla Keys our winters tend to be quite windy and the summers much milder so the 3 step cat ketch looks pretty good.
How much ballast are you going to install? I will be letting my kids use the boat so I will probably use 250-300 lbs. I am trying to figure out how to put some floation in for the inevitable capsize. Good luck, Hank
02-25-2001, 08:49 PM
Cat ketches are really easy to handle - not only sharpies had this rig. See "Bessie Lee", the Seaside Bateau in the collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Mus. Go to my Cheap Pages to find links to pix I took of her and more info. This too has the multi-mast step option.
Interesting too is the fact that people usually had a couple of these bateaus, a long one pof maybe 18ft keel and a short one of 13ft keel. The small one used a single sail, that is, the mizzen of the larger boat.
I've sailed quite a bit in the CLC "John's Sharpie", which is a cat-ketch with identical sails - it's very easy to handle and the rig is very powerful. The hull, however, is quite light and from the mast partners down it's really like an oversized racing dinghy meets Bolger sharpie. Simple but sleek.
Anyway the point here is that it's overcanvassed for 15 kts gusts but sails wonderfully in the 5 or so knots of a summer Chesapeake day, and that's exactly what it was designed to do. Blowing harder? Reef before you go out.
Finally, about those vertical brail-reefs. If you think about it the last thing you were going to do in a workboat with low freeboard in a blow was beat to windward. So the fact that it completely ruins the aerodynamics of the sail when reefed was never an issue. You were cutting down sail area and running or broad reaching for the lee of the nearest island.
I'm not sure what the "Ohio rig" is, but if it's the one with the permanent false-gaff batten, it seems to be reasonably close to modern high-performance sails in overall shape.
Conor O'Brien designed for a 25-ish foot boat he used something he called the "gaff sprit", which was essentially that sail with a loose foot and a permanent vang to the end of that upper batten. An interesting concept - the vang ran from a block on the mizzen mast.
Somewhere I've got a scan of his sketch of same, but it appeared in a book called Sea-Boats, Oars and Sails.
03-05-2001, 11:54 AM
HP3....I haven't been on in a while, sorry for such a delayed response.
I planked side to side, and had just enough of the 1/2 inch stock left for the centerboard trunk, as specified in the plans.
I've decided, thanks to all of the comments here, to go with the sprit-boom, cat-ketch specified in the plans, for simplicity, ease of sailing, cost and the beauty of using just one mast in windy conditions.
As for ballast, I'd thought of using sand bags, laced around the centerboard, and also employing steel stage weights, which are easily attainable at theatres and concert halls. I spend a lot of time at such places.
But before I decide exactly what to do, I'm going to consult a steel fabrication guy, and possibly use exactly what Parker suggests, sheet steel on each side of the centerboard trunk. I'll want to prime/paint it (or the stage weights) to keep rust to a minimum, and somehow connect it to the floor frames at each end of the centerboard trunk. I'd thought of two rods running fore and aft, on each side, which would go through these two frames, threaded at each end and secured with wing nuts.
Since you've spent some time with the plans, do you have any other thoughts?
I have been debating what to do about ballast. Parker recomends 2-300 lbs lead\steel sheet, but does not suggest location or attachment methods. I have acess to lead shot and wheel weights so I am trying to figure out a way to use one of these. It looks to me like the Center of Bouyancy is at about 120in from the bow so ballast evenly alongside the center board trunk will work out about 6" foreword of Cen. Bouyancy. This will probably be about right as the live load (Me) will be aft. I am thinking about boxes along side of the trunk with shot\sand beded in resin. Your comment about steel got me to thinking, maybe square tube filled with shot,sand,resin attached to the frames and glued in place. I wonder how galv. tube beded in epoxy would do in salt water? Probably will last longer than me!
I am a little dissapointed in the lack of detail about the rig in the plans. This is my first sailboat building projest and I have some uncertanty as to how to arrange the sheets. I guess being mostly a stink-pot runner I am not familiar enough with sail rigs to do this instinctively. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I would be interested in your solution. I am concerned with sheet loads as this boat will be used by my daughters age 10-15.
Let me know how your project go's Hank
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